As electric vehicles (EVs) become more mainstream thanks to the automotive industry, we see more and more information swirling around the internet. Unfortunately, not all of that information is up to date or correct at all. With battery tech improving drastically over the past decade, it can be hard to keep up with the current facts. Additionally, with so much information available, it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff to discern what’s true and what isn’t.
To help spread awareness in that regard, Motorcycle.com has decided to focus on dispelling five5 myths you shouldn’t believe about electric motorcycles.
It’s true. Electric motorcycles (EMs) are great for commuters. Riding a motorcycle to work not only makes the commute more enjoyable, but in places that allow lanesplitting, it can be much faster. That’s not to say electric motorcycles aren’t any good for every other type of riding as well. The instantaneous torque is exhilarating in a way that’s unique to EMs, which makes for a lot of fun on twisty canyon roads. It’s easy enough to ride out to your favorite mountain lunch spot, plug in for an hour or so while having lunch and chatting with friends, and head back out as Evans illustrated in his Energica Esse Esse 9 review. Even touring has become a more viable option as charging stations become more prevalent. Harley-Davidson just shared a story with us in which a rider celebrated his 50th birthday riding his Livewire over 1,400 miles from the United States’ southern border to the northern border in Washington state. Sure, it still takes planning to enjoy electric motorcycles in a way that takes you out of the urban sprawl, but the versatility of EMs is ever-increasing.
With all things comparable, it’s easy to see how a motorcycle with an internal combustion motor versus an electric motor stacks up regarding cost. As the miles pack on, traditional gas motorcycles require more routine maintenance. While oil changes are relatively easy and don’t come around too often (depending on your riding habits), bigger maintenance jobs come further down the line such as valve checks. Zero Motorcycles portrays this fact in a graph on the “advantages” page of its website. As the miles rack up, the costs of an ICE motorcycle start to ramp up at a more significant rate than electric motorcycles. While EMs also show increased cost with increased mileage, the curve is much less pronounced. At the end of the day, how much you ride and which motorcycle you choose to purchase will play a large role in this comparison.
Battery technology is always changing. Even within the last 10 years we’ve seen both battery capacity and reliability improve drastically. Most electric motorcycle manufacturers offer warranties that cover the motorcycle’s battery from three to five years. Additionally, manufacturers are continuously improving ways to ensure batteries remain operating at the optimal performance level as long as possible. Energica claims its current batteries will last between 149,000 to 249,000 miles before exhibiting a loss in performance. Some manufacturers such as Zero Motorcycles also have “hot-swappable” batteries allowing users to pull a few bolts and toss in a brand new battery. We should mention that while this is currently an option, extra batteries are not cheap.
As acceptance of electric vehicles becomes more prevalent, companies and manufacturers alike are investing in creating significant networks of charging stations at all levels. The image above shows the current map of chargers from Electrify America, one of the largest open DC Fast Charging networks in the United States. The company plans to install or have under development, approximately 800 total charging stations with about 3,500 chargers by December 2021. “Our 50kW to 350kW chargers will be available at charging stations near highways, and 50kW to 150kW chargers will be available in metropolitan areas,” says Electrify America. While companies like Electrify America focus on building DC/Level 3 charging stations along highways, there are still a growing number of level 1 and level 2 charging stations in urban settings. This is an important point to consider when purchasing an electric motorcycle. Currently, Energica is the only brand that supports all three levels of charging.
Range has been the number one point of contention for electric vehicles from the beginning. As mentioned previously, battery tech has, and continues, to improve rapidly. Electric motorcycle manufacturers are now claiming city ranges up to 250 miles with highway claims over 100 miles. While that may not sound like much to some, on average, that gives the majority of Americans ample range for commuting. For longer trips, yes, there still needs to be a plan in place to ensure you don’t run out of juice, but EM manufacturers are also attempting to make it as painless as possible to schedule trips via apps that locate charging stations in your area or along your route.
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